20-Apr-2008 -- As I was en route to give a presentation at the 2008 Delaware GIS conference, a confluence visit seemed like the perfect way to begin the journey. I had just left the largest gathering of geographers probably anywhere on the planet, that of the annual conference of the Association of American Geographers. Over 7,000 geographers from many countries around the world gathered in Boston for nearly a week for networking, papers, and workshops on theoretical and applied geography. Therefore, I was in the area, and after visiting 43 North 71 West earlier in the morning in New Hampshire, my route to Delaware would take me near to 42 North 71 West.
Well, I may have "adjusted" my route slightly to take in the visit, but in my defense, I had wanted to see the Big Dig for myself after having read about it in geography journals. The Big Dig is the underground portion of Interstate Highway 93 as it winds below Boston. A multi-year project, it is an engineering marvel, and the excavation site turned into an archaeological opportunity to see what had been buried since Boston had been settled over these past 400 years. To my surprise, the Big Dig ended up being quite uncongested, and I reached the south side of Boston without delay. I drove west on US Highway 1 for a bit, and then south again on State Highway 24 before exiting at Brockton. We're not far from Foxboro Stadium and I am sure most folks here are fans of the New England Patriots football team. I then drove southeast on, fittingly, Pleasant Street through this pleasant community, south on Main Street, missed the turn to Keenan Street, but once regaining it, I drove west into a very nice neighborhood. I could not read all of the street signs, and ended up driving south on Aldrich Street instead of South Street. I corrected my mistake and then anticipation built as I entered Mile Brook Road from east to west. Midway down, I stopped right on the confluence point. I wished later that I had driven on a bit so the vehicle would not have been so prominent in the photographs.
I paused for a moment to think. This is the first time I had sat in a vehicle at a confluence. In my excitement, I did not want to do anything stupid such as lock myself out of the vehicle. I got out and zeroed out the GPS unit in less than 5 minutes. I first located it in the dead center of the road, but then it "drifted" a bit to the north side of the road. The front door closest to the confluence is at 16 Mile Brook Road. It seemed fitting that the confluence street had a reference to a unit of measure. Also in the neighborhood were South Street and North Street. South Street is actually north of North Street, as South Street refers to the community to the north, and North Street is relative to the community to the south. The closest house to the confluence by measuring to the nearest wall, though, is probably the one to the northwest. The temperature was 74 F (23 C), a windy, lovely spring day with light clouds. The site is on level ground, completely impervious as it is covered with asphalt. Even though this is one of the easiest confluences I have visited, it is still special. However, it was still a lovely spot. My favorite part about this site is the limestone wall constructed on the north end of the street at the sidewalk. I spent quite awhile here, enjoying the sunshine and the wall, soaking up the sun, there in my GeoGeek shirt. A few cars drove by. It was one of the first truly warm days of 2008.
I have been to 42 North numerous times, in Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, and Wyoming. I have been to 71 West just once before, earlier today, in fact, in New Hampshire. I was amassing quite a nice little collection of New England confluences. The homeowner from the south came over, and I explained to her what I was doing. Then her spouse was driven up to the house by a neighbor who joked that the house was for sale. I chatted with them a bit, took more photographs, and left the site after about 40 minutes total visit time. I left the site the way I came in, and then dashed over to Connecticut to visit with my friend Mick Miller.
A perfect way to end the AAG and to prepare for the upcoming Delaware GIS conference!